Career Life

Watching a Woodworker Turn a Log Into a Beautiful Bowl Is Strangely Relaxing

Watching a Woodworker Turn a Log Into a Beautiful Bowl Is Strangely Relaxing March 4, 2019

woodworker turns a log into a bowl

Andy Phillip is a master at creating stunning wood carvings. In addition to making beautiful art, it's also strangely calming to watch him go about his craft. So take this opportunity to watch as a woodworker turns a log into a bowl. Because it's way better looking than you expect...

Here's Looking At Yew

IMAGE BY: Etsy/ Andy Phillip

Woodworker Andy Phillip knows how to make a good bowl. In his hands, a chunk of rough yew wood can become an incredible masterpiece. His work it utterly gorgeous.

Ooh, Shiny

IMAGE BY: Esty/ Andy Phillip
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Phillip's polished woodwork shines and glimmers, and perfectly shows off the gorgeous grain of the wood that he's used. But how does a craftsman go about making something like this? It turns out, the whole process is simple, even if it does require a lot of skill.

Getting Ready

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

Here we see Phillip measuring up a yew log. He'll drill a hole into the middle of the log so it can be held in place when he attaches it to a lathe.

Drilling Down

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

It would seem logical to make a bowl that follows the circular shape of the log. But logical is boring, so Phillip is going to make a long, wide bowl instead.

Getting The Wood Into Place

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Phillip's lathe will spin the wood around, using the hole he's drilled as an anchor point. This, of course, means that the wood will spin like a plane propeller, so Phillip will need to avoid letting his fingers get too close.

Measuring Up

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The metal bar that Phillip is adjusting here will help him to stay safe as the log spins. He'll also be able to lean on it to ensure that his carving stays uniform in the face of a rapidly moving wooden canvas.

You Spin Me Right Round

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

Now that the log is in place, it can be spun. Keeping his fingers clear, Phillip is going to edge his carving tool nearer to the log in order to begin chipping away.

A Delicate Process

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Phillip is an expert at what he does, to the point that he makes this job look easy. In reality, it takes a lot of very precise and careful carving to create a suitably shaped bowl from this wood.

Becoming a Bowl

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The unusual shape of the log means that the friction Phillip faces is uneven. He needs to keep his hand steady as he fights against the spinning wood to make sure his carving stays neat.

Cutting The Fat

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The bowl is looking really good now, but it's still a little too tall. Carefully, Phillip trims down a chunk of wood at what will be the bottom of the bowl so he can shorten his finished work.

Chop Chop

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Phillip now can pause the lathe to remove the excess wood. One quick chip with a chisel neatly breaks off this spare appendage, and Phillip is ready to start work on the inside of the bowl.

Time To Switch

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

Satisfied with the outside of the bowl, Phillip now turns the chunk of wood over. It's time for him to carve out the inside of his creation, so that the bowl will actually have some storage space inside.

A Delicate Process

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The good news is that the bowl's shape is now a lot more streamlined, meaning it's easier to work with. The downside is that carving the inside of the bowl is a lot trickier because it involves reaching inside the wooden block.

Fingers Beware

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Phillip has moved the finger guard now so that it's a lot closer to the bowl. This means he runs the risk of losing a digit if he makes a false move, but it's also essential to help him get the right shape for his creation.

Hollowing Out

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The big challenge with this stage of the process is ensuring that the bowl is uniformly deep. If Phillip carves too much off, his bowl could end up uneven. Plus, there's something even worse that he needs to avoid.

In Constant Danger

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

If Phillip goes too far through the wall of his bowl, he could end up slicing a chunk out of the middle of his creation. This would not only ruin the bowl, but would cause a large part of the wood to fly around the workshop, thanks to the rapidly spinning lathe.

A Master At Work

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip
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Thankfully, Phillip knows what he's doing, and before long, his beautiful bowl has taken shape, and he's able to carefully reach inside the wooden oval to complete this rough stage of the carving.

The Shape is Set

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The lathe is powered down, and the bowl's shape is revealed. It takes a very skilled woodworker to make such an unusually shaped creation on a lathe. But Phillip still has more work to do before this is completed.

Sanding Time

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

To make sure the bowl is nice and smooth on the inside, Phillip then sands it down. This removes any rough patches in the wood, and makes the finished bowl a lot more pleasant.

Last Minute Tweaks

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Satisfied with the inside of the bowl, Phillip turns his attention back to its exterior. There's still a bit of extra wood at the bottom that he's not happy with, so he's going back to the lathe.

Making a Round Bottom

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

Phillip wants his bowl's bottom to be nice and round - albeit flat enough that the bowl won't roll away. This means carefully trimming away a little more wood, and cutting off the final excess with a saw to leave it flat.

Applying Finish

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

The carving of Phillip's bowl is now complete, but he still has one final step to apply. With a brush, he applies a layer of wax finish to help the bowl be both resilient, and smooth to the touch.

Careful Brushstrokes

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If you've ever worked with finish or varnish, you'll know that it can be a pain to get a good coat. But Phillip knows what he's doing, and before long, the bowl looks fantastic.

The Finished Article

IMAGE BY: YouTube/ Andy Phillip

Thus, Phillip has completed his bowl. It looks absolutely tremendous, and it's impressive to think that it started life as a nondescript log.

So Good He Made It Twice

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Phillip was pleased with his finished bowl, which is why he then picked up another chunk of wood from the same tree and made a second one. Notice how the pair both have similar (but not identical) wood grain on the inside.